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Duggar, Belt hit HRs, but Giants fall to Dodgers

San Francisco goes 2-5 on series-opening road trip
@mi_guardado
April 4, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Madison Bumgarner felt the Giants’ opening stretch of games -- which included three lackluster losses to the Padres -- wasn’t indicative of the club’s ability to compete in 2019. “I feel like we’re going to be OK,” Bumgarner said Tuesday. “I don’t feel like these first few

LOS ANGELES -- Madison Bumgarner felt the Giants’ opening stretch of games -- which included three lackluster losses to the Padres -- wasn’t indicative of the club’s ability to compete in 2019.

“I feel like we’re going to be OK,” Bumgarner said Tuesday. “I don’t feel like these first few games here are any kind of sign of what kind of team we are. I think we’re going to be good.”

The Giants played better against the Dodgers, but they missed a chance to come away with a series victory after their talented bullpen erred in a 5-3 loss on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Reyes Moronta allowed a go-ahead two-run double to David Freese with two outs in the seventh inning, as the Giants went on to lose and end their seven-game road trip to San Diego and Los Angeles with a 2-5 record.

“You don’t like it because we lost two series,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You take the first game here, and you’re so close to winning another one. If you look at the last two games, it could have gone either way. That would have made it a decent trip, to get the series here. It’s disappointing.”

Moronta was summoned to protect the Giants’ one-run lead, but he fell into trouble after yielding a leadoff double to Austin Barnes and walking Enrique Hernandez. Freese later delivered the decisive blow, hammering a two-run double off the right-center-field wall.

It was an uncharacteristic lapse for Moronta, who is expected to be one of the Giants’ top pitchers out of the bullpen this season and struck out a career-high five over two scoreless innings against the Padres on Saturday.

“Reyes has been so good over the past year, and this year,” Bochy said. “Give them credit. He just mislocated his fastball there at the end.”

Given the way their roster is built, the Giants’ season-opening road trip offered a blueprint of the type of tight, low-scoring games they are likely to play this year. Six of their first seven games were decided by two or less runs, and they were outscored by only one run in their three games at Dodger Stadium. Since the start of 2018, the Giants have played an MLB-high 96 games decided by two or less runs. They are 44-52 in those games.

With a deep bullpen, the Giants can expect their back-end arms to hold most late-inning leads this season, but it didn’t work out that way Wednesday.

Following Moronta’s blip, the Dodgers added an insurance run against left-hander Tony Watson on Chris Taylor’s RBI double in the eighth.

“We have a good bullpen,” Bochy said. “That’s going to have to be our strength, holding onto those leads, and it got away from us.”

Left-hander Derek Holland allowed two runs -- including a leadoff homer to Enrique Hernandez -- in a 32-pitch first inning, but he settled in and managed to get through five innings in his second start of the season.

Holland departed with a one-run lead after the Giants rallied for three runs in the fourth. Steven Duggar opened the inning with his first home run of the season, launching a hanging slider from right-hander Ross Stripling to right field. After a single from Evan Longoria, Belt delivered a two-run homer to right-center field to put San Francisco ahead, 3-2.

But the Giants couldn’t generate any more offense, as the Dodgers retired San Francisco's final 14 batters to seal their series win. Still, Holland said he’s confident the Giants’ offense will begin to click soon, especially now that they’re heading back to the Bay Area to open their home slate against the Rays on Friday at Oracle Park.

“It’s just a tick off, and it’s going to come around,” Holland said. “These guys are definitely capable of that. You can see that. You know what they’re all about. They have a great approach. It’s just a matter of things clicking all together all at once. As a pitching staff, we’ve got to keep pushing ourselves and keep doing what we can to keep these guys in the game so they can put the runs up for us. We’ve been in every game, so there’s a lot of upside and a lot of positives that we can take from this entire road trip.”

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.